Rhabdomyosarcoma

A dangerous sarcoma that arises in any part of the body

What is a Sarcoma?

What is a sarcoma? In Greek, sarcoma means fleshy growth. There are many different subtypes of sarcomas but the two primary types are osteosarcomas and soft tissue sarcomas. A sarcoma is a type of cancer that arises from bone or muscle. In a sarcoma, the cells multiply and divide very quickly, thus creating a large tumor.

What is Rhabdomyosarcoma?

Rhabdomyosarcoma (or RMS) is a childhood soft tissue sarcoma that can appears in a form of a large tumor. The tumors are usually found in your head, neck or lungs and can spread. Rhabdomyosarcoma is a form of cancer that can move to the lymph nodes and some rare cases have even been reported to spread to the inside of the cancer patient's stomach. If the tumor isn't harmful or cancerous it it called a benign. For a benign type tumor it is safe to amputate the tumor in a simple surgery. The treatment process for a cancerous tumor caused by Rhabdomyosarcoma, can be very long and includes surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.

Body Systems Affected By Rhabdomyosarcoma

Because soft tissue can be found in any part of your body, RMS can form anywhere in a young child's body. Normally, Rhabdomyosarcoma is found in the patient's head neck and lungs. This is one sarcoma where the cancer can spread to the lymph nodes. If the tumor is visible from looking at the person, the process to removing it will have less complications. If the tumor is inside the body the child will need to have more done to them to have it removed. Whether the child has a tumor inside their body or outside their body they are both at risk of having them spread regionally or in another distant part of the body.

How The Body Functions With And Without RMS

If a person does not have cancer, they do not have uncontrolled growth of cells (cancer cells) that can make a large, fleshy and usually cancerous tumor. During Rhabdomyosarcoma, depending upon where in the body the tumor occurs, that part of the body will be impaired. If a cancerous tumor from Rhabdomyosarcoma was to form in your lungs, it would interfere with the way the person breathes. Rhabdomyosarcoma can also fatigue the patient and make it difficult for he or she to do simple tasks such as climbing the stairs.
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Target Population For Rhabdomyosarcoma

Rhabdomyosarcoma is most commonly diagnosed in children that are between the ages of one year old and four years old but a small percentage of children and young adults up to age twenty-one have been diagnosed. To have Rhabdomyosarcoma occur in an adult over twenty-one years of age is very rare, and only 20% of RMS cases occur in adults. Rhabdomyosarcoma does not only occur in one specific gender but it is slightly more common in males than in females.

How Does RMS Arise In The Body?

Rhabdomyosarcoma arises from a skeletal muscle cell or an area that area that is lacking it. So that means it can arise virtually anywhere, Bones or muscles. Getting Rhabdomyosarcoma is not an accident or an environmental issue but it can be genetic. Children who have family members who themselves have had Rhabdomyosarcoma, breast cancer, Costello syndrome, or Beckwith-Wiedemann syndroma are at risk for having Rhabdomyosarcoma. Also, children who have been exposed to an x-ray before birth (while in the womb) or who have parents who do drugs such as cocaine or marijuana are also at a risk of having Rhabdomyosarcoma in life.

Signs And Symptoms Of RMS

Some dangerous signs or symptoms to look out for that may mean Rhabdomyosarcoma are, having a bulging, swelling eye, the person may complain about a congested nose for a prolonged period of time, a mass may be visible in the back of the throat or in the nostril, a large tumor forming on any part of the body, and the patient may have constant nose bleeds, and bloody mucus coming from the nose and throat.

Rhabdomyosarcoma Diagnosis

A doctor can diagnose Rhabodmyosarcoma in different ways. The doctor may be able to feel or see a lump swelling on the patient's body or the patient may come to the doctor complaining about pain in a certain area of the body where there may be a tumor. forming. Specifically in the ear of back of the throat. The patient also may have bloody mucus has had a stuffy nose, or a feeling like a stuffy nose for a prolonged period of time. The patient may also have one eye swelling, looking significantly larger than the other eye or bulging from their head. Sometimes, these may be misdiagnosed as a really bad sinus infection.

Treatment For Rhabdomyosarcoma

The treatment plan of Rhabdomyosarcoma depends upon if the tumor is cancerous of if it is just a benign tumor (non-cancerous tumor). If the tumor is a benign tumor it can be taken care of very quickly by a traditional tumor removal surgery procedure. If the tumor is indeed cancerous and dangerous, the patients may lose their hair and there will be a process of five to six weeks of radiation therapy, chemotherapy, a second-look surgery or the traditional tumor removal surgery procedure.

RMS Prognosis

There can be many prognoses about a person's Rhabdomyosarcoma and it all depends on how big and bad the tumor is, if it has spread (regionally or distant) and where it occurs. Children have a better outlook for a cancer like Rhabdomyosarcoma and younger kids that are between the ages of one years old and nine years old are much more guaranteed to survive than adults or or older kids with this condition.

My Connections With Sarcoma

The reason why I decided to study sarcoma and this type of sarcoma in specific is because I was really inspired by the story of a young girl named Maddie Santosuosso from Massachusetts. Even though I have never had cancer, I can tell that for cancer patients it is probably very difficult at times to stay optimistic. Every day I wish the best for Maddie in her journey. In the link I have below, you can see Maddie's website and donate money to her fund.

Works Cited

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"What Is a Soft Tissue Sarcoma?" What Is a Soft Tissue Sarcoma? N.p., 6 Feb. 2014. Web. 02 Jan. 2015.


http://www.cancer.org/cancer/sarcoma-adultsofttissuecancer/detailedguide/sarcoma-adult-soft-tissue-cancer-soft-tissue-sarcoma


"SARC - Sarcoma Alliance for Research Through Collaboration, Ann Arbor." Soft Tissue Sarcoma Subtypes. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Jan. 2015.


http://www.sarctrials.org/soft-tissue-sarcoma

Wexler, Leonard H., MD. "Rhabdomyosarcoma." Liddy Shriver Sarcoma Initiative. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Jan. 2015.

http://sarcomahelp.org/rhabdomyosarcoma.html#tpm1_1


"How Is Rhabdomyosarcoma Diagnosed?" How Is Rhabdomyosarcoma Diagnosed? N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Jan. 2015.

http://www.cancer.org/cancer/rhabdomyosarcoma/detailedguide/rhabdomyosarcoma-diagnosis


Matushansky, Igor, and Robert G. Maki. "Fighting Cancer Through The Study of Sarcomas." N.p., 1 Sept. 2005. Web. 15 Jan. 2015

http://web.a.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=33c26e41-00c3-4c2e-adf9-66472d3ba6d4%40sessionmgr4005&vid=6&hid=4109


"Survival Rates for Rhabdomyosarcoma by Risk Group." Survival Rates for Rhabdomyosarcoma by Risk Group. N.p., 21 Nov. 2014. Web. 21 Jan. 2015.



http://www.cancer.org/cancer/rhabdomyosarcoma/detailedguide/rhabdomyosarcoma-staging-survival-rates

Photo:

Vankalakunti, Mahesha, Ashim Das, and Narasimhan KL Rao. RMS1. 2008. N.p. See page for author [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons